Cyber criminals have taken note of the increase in the consumption of entertainment across the UAE and GCC region as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Security experts have noted that hackers are increasingly targeting vulnerable consumers as a result of this increase in entertainment consumption by creating malicious links that appear as popular channels.
Emad Haafar, Kaspersky’s Head of Technical Experts for the Meta Area, said hackers are still seeking new ways to target users, and that Kaspersky experts reported a spike in the number of phishing attacks with websites imitating online shopping and streaming services earlier this year.
“Cyber criminals create a copy of a web page that looks exactly like the landing page of popular streaming platforms and retailers. Sometimes, they also create new landing pages that provide users free access in exchange for their credentials or bank account details. To an untrained eye, they will not be able to distinguish between a legitimate website and one disguised as a phishing website. It is important that Internet users stay vigilant while browsing the internet for their favorite TV shows.”
Kaspersky is a global anti-virus and cyber security provider.
Haafar also noted that with an increasing number of people working from home in recent months, many users do not have the high degree of online protection that they are given while working at an office.
He urged organizations to provide training sessions to employees and help improve their cyber awareness and identify potential damage from such attacks.
The Mimecast Threat Intelligence Center recorded that the global monthly number of opportunistic cyber crime detection increased by more than 26 percent between January and March 2020 alone, with 115,000 new spoof domains detected that attempt to steal personal data.
They reported a 22% increase in malware in the MENA zone, 36% in spam and a 751% increase in unsafe clicks by users in this time span.
Another report found 9,773 emails, URLs, and file threats related to COVID-19 across the GCC in Q1 2020, with the UAE taking the lead with 3,259 attacks.
These numbers place the GCC countries in the top 10 for COVID-19 related cyber attacks in the region.